“Beauty charms, the sublime moves,” wrote Kant. This is especially true when you have an awareness of the magic that you can perceive around us by simply listening, opening up to the new, feeling the emotions and humanity of the other. Not only of people, but also of art.
This is demonstrated and taught by Giuseppe Califano, a composer, conductor and above all music teacher, who, as well as training orchestras and choirs, loves to interest people in classical music and teach them.
At the opening night of the 2017-2018 season at Teatro alla Scala 2017-2018 featuring Andrea Chénier, Giordano’s masterpiece that was first performed at the Scala in 1896, the Cimbali Group is not only sponsoring the premiere’s gala dinner, but is also hosting a live recording of the opera in MUMAC preceded by an introduction by Giuseppe Califano of the Accademia Teatro alla Scala, designed to inform the public not just about the technical and stylistic aspects of the libretto and the music, but above all about the context and Giordano’s human characteristics.
Because, the maestro explains, “opera is a cultural product that is the result of intuitions and skills, as well as study, context, history and humanity, profound humanity”.
The humanity of a librettist who wrote the story of a 28-year-old poet who is sent to the guillotine for his love, passion and ideals. The humanity of a composer who, like Mascagni, invented a new style and frequented bohemian cafés to the tune of Carmen, the verismo opera written a few years earlier, and then struggled to replicate his masterpiece. The humanity of a man who has transformed his tenacity, curiosity and intuition into music. “To narrate the most human aspects, the most curious situations, such as the flair that certain composers had for stories and melodies that they wore like a second skin,” remarks Giuseppe Califano, “is fundamental to bringing people closer to what they are about to listen to: we thus open ourselves up to a different way of listening that is more aware but also closer and more familiar”.
Invitation to listen
The invitation to listen without judgement is one of the magic wands that Califano waves, especially before young audiences, in order to create, in a crescendo of climaxes, the awareness that there are two types of music: music composed to entertain and music composed to communicate. “I love breaking down prejudices, because often people do not know the opera but have a very precise idea. So I ask my young audience what they listen to and insist without judgement on the quality of music and the way in which people listen to it, because often they experience it as pure entertainment, which is very different from what you experience at a concert. The important thing is to leave a wide choice open, without the illusion of choice but rather the awareness of being able to choose. This is exactly why I love bringing people closer to music because it is an immediate art that nonetheless merits time and study in order to educate your taste”.
Taste education, like what happens in a cup of coffee, can bring new pleasures and new emotions. “Having an awareness of that composer, of that historical period and that piece of music,” the maestro concludes, “allows you to choose how to listen to it, immersing yourself in different universes.” And when you choose and above all listen consciously, as paradoxical as it may seem, it allows you to be touched by new melodies and new tones and to perceive sublime, moving notes.
Thursday 7 December 2017, 17.00
On the opening night of the 2017-2018 La Scala season featuring the Andrea Chenièr opera directed by Riccardo Chailly, the museum will be open from 18.00 to 22.00 presenting a live stream from Milan’s Teatro alla Scala.
Free admission, limited places, compulsory reservation, e-mail email@example.com